Metal Finishing Guide Book

2011-2012 Surface Finishing Guidebook

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finishing plant engineering REDUCING OPERATIONAL COSTS, ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT VIA RIGOROUS PLATING/FINISHING ANALYSIS BY DAVE FISTER, SENIOR STAFF ENGINEER, THE NEW YORK STATE POLLUTION PREVENTION INSTITUTE AT ROCHESTER INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, ROCHESTER, N.Y. In good economic times, there is not as much motivation for a business to take a hard look at the cost of their plating or finishing processes. With fierce com- petition from overseas, and a weak economy, the need to look at these process- es becomes much more important. Surprisingly enough, once the real costs associated with plating and finishing lines are known, there are many options available to reduce some or all of those costs, and the economic paybacks can be very short. We will present the methodology used by the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute at Rochester Institute of Technology to determine the base- line costs of the finishing operation. Potential improvement methods or tech- nologies will be presented for each area typically found in any finishing line. There are four areas common to almost every plating line and metal finishing line: • Rinse tanks • Ventilation systems • Acid cleaners, acid etches • Alkaline cleaners It is important to collect good baseline information on each of these areas. Once that information is collected, it is easy to rank each area by cost and to look for the best options to reduce those costs. It is also very helpful to create a line layout—if one does not already exist—to help clarify the process steps and mate- rial flow. As much detail as possible should be contained in the line layout. Decisions will be much easier later in the evaluation if the layout information is complete. A spreadsheet is also helpful to aid in calculating chemical costs, water costs, etc., and can be readily updated as more information is collected. The following question lists will provide sufficient information to develop base- line cost information. Baseline questions for rinse tanks: Number of rinse tanks after each process tank? What is the rinse tank type (single rinse, reactive rinse, counterflow rinse, stag- nant rinse, spray rinse)? What is the flow rate on each rinse tank? What water type is required for each rinse tank (reverse osmosis, deionized water, city water)? Does the rinse water contain either high toxicity or high value material (chromic 562

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